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Listening to dinner

A northern tribe who chop off foes’ heads as war trophies listen to their food, I was told. Sure sounds edible-- would a pinch of fish flesh howl in pain or sing a paean?

They’re not likely referring to the snap, crackle and pop off crunchy slivers of raw radish, seaweed or cucumbers lazed in vinaigrette of black pepper, sugar, olive oil and salt. Every item of viand ought to tell something more than a “moo” off a beef morsel.

Unlikely an early warning that copious intake of nitrates in cured meats—tocino, longaniza, corned beef and what have you-- may reach critical mass and just go off like a time bomb wrecking the insides of a gourmand.

Certainly not a list of the food item’s biochemical makeup, no fastfood staple spiked with industrial-strength ingredients would bother to inflict pangs of panic on a prospective victim of obesity-related mortality.

So what did those headhunters had in mind when they sat down for repasts, hushed hunger and asked their kids to lend a heedful ear to what’s before them?

We could be wrong but hazard a guess we ought to.

Bringing food to the table isn’t a picnic for mountain dwellers. Raising food crops and livestock on an unwieldy terrain isn’t equal to barking an order of stir-fried beef noodles or chow mein kampf to a waitress, plunking down one’s hinnies on a seat and chattering away with one’s company awaiting for food to be dished out pronto.

So we’re estranged from the ordeal of a process in turning up sustenance… we’ve turned into feeders feeding off slops of products thrown onto troughs. Life is so easier.

Nabanggit sa kapwa dalubhasa sa pagsisinop-lupa na nakasumpong kaming mag-asawa ng taniman ng watercress or xi yang cai kalapit sa bukal, nasa gilid ng bundok may dalawang kilometro ang layo sa aming tinutuluyan… sagsag doon ang katutubong dalubhasa.

Kabilang sa nilantakan sa gabing iyon ang nakabunton sa pinggan na
xi yang cai, mayumi ang anghang-tamis… may lagaslas ng batis, linamnam at lutong ng utong… may bahid ng apat na kilometrong paroo’t paritong pagbaybay sa kasukalan… ganoon ang naulinig sa hapunan.

Iba naman ang narinig na ngitngit sa matandang nagsisinop ng ektaryang palayan na kanugnog ng isang
subdivision sa Camarin… walang 70 sako ng palay ang inaani sa lawak na ‘yon na paminsan-minsang dinadagsa ng mga musmos mula subdivision…

Wala raw pakundangan ang mga bata kung sagasaan at dapurakin ang mga uhay-palay… nalalagas ang mga butil… ni santasang kanin daw, hindi kayang mapalago ng mga magulang ng mga musmos na ‘yon.

Sino’ng magtitiyagang makinig, maniniwala sa kanya


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